I passed behind the Jewish graveyard, as I often do, but this morning the path was empty. It was cold and sky wore a silver mist. Dew glittered like sequins on the graveyard’s wrought iron fencing. Everything seemed more beautiful in the silence.
Silence gives you a chance to think. The quiet gives you a chance to see and feel the things you normally ignore or push aside.
For the first time, though I’d taken this route almost daily, I noticed the stone angels perched on pillars and mausoleums and I thought how incredibly beautiful they looked, eternally bent in prayer for the dead. Or were they praying that God forgive the living? I wondered about this as the winter mist rolled in and formed eddies at their feet.
Then I thought how my thoughts seemed a little morbid and I wondered if that was okay. No one wants to be friends with the sad girl, with the girl who finds beauty in gravestones and mourns for the living. It’s not socially acceptable to think that way.
And then I thought some more. I thought about how I was tired of thinking. I thought so much that I crossed the street without looking and as my foot touched the opposite pavement, I couldn’t help but think what a shame it was that I’d made it safely across.
Anything can become normal if you endure it for long enough… even the worse of circumstances.
They say the word
and I fold myself
into any shape
to carry their message across
I did not choose to be here
(one does not choose to be born)
but if I must play this ridiculous game
I will do my best to feign enthusiasm
Right now, I can’t use my words.
I will be found out, disqualified.
so lay low, play along too,
until I find new ways to reach you.
I will take charge someday
and rewrite the rules in our favour.
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath
We had a talk on organ donation earlier this week and it brought up a few very unexpected feelings in me.
I’ve always thought about becoming an organ donor or donating my body to science. After all, I won’t have any use for it once I’m dead. However, when the conversation turned to which organs one could donate, my resolve became a little shaky. I had no problem with the standard things like the heart, liver and kidneys, but then the donation of tissues came up. This includes things like skin, bone and eyes. It wasn’t until they mentioned eyes that I realised just how attached I was to my body – this shell that houses a soul.
I processed this within a few minutes, figuring I might as well let them take as much as they can. Who knows what sort of good they’ll be able to do. Whatever remains after that can be cremated.
Then, a jolt ran through me. Suddenly, it seemed so sad that after having endured so much, this skin-and-bone would be reduced to nothing more than ash.
It was a confrontation with death that I’d not had since my early teens. I’d forgotten how inevitable and final death is…
This confrontation gave me a lot to think about. Mostly, I’m thinking about how the decisions I make now will define me because not a single one of us knows how long we’ll be around. We have to be living a life we can be proud of right now. I’m not. But, I’m going to work myself to the bone to get there or else my life will mean little more than scattered ash.
We turned on the radio at 3 a.m
to drown out the silence.
The summer heat would filter through
our open window on those restless nights,
on those sleepless summer nights
we sat on the windowsill
sifting through my loneliness
and your heartbreak
the same way we’d sift through our coins,
gathering the silver to buy midnight snacks.
No one told us then we were worth more
than silver and gold
and fifteen tasted so bitter-sweet…
I wouldn’t wish it back
but I’d wish us back to that windowsill
if it meant things would stay the same between us.
[missing an old friend tonight]